Ghana’s growing youthful population and their penchant for technology has raised the bar higher for banks in the country, Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Ernest Addison has said.
“In the comfort of your office or home, one can now transact banking business at the press of a button via a smartphone or laptop. These changes have prompted banks to shed off their laid-back attitude and instead put customers at the core of their businesses.
As banks compete to increase market share by offering innovative, customer-centered financial products and services, Ghana’s bulging youth population and their penchant for technology have raised the bar higher,” he said.
According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Ghana’s youth constitute more than a third of the population, which is close 10million citizens.
Speaking at the 16th Banking Awards, which came off in Accra, on the theme: “Redefining a sustainable customer experience in banking: 60 years after independence,” Dr. Addison urged banks to adopt a customer-related approach by putting customers at the centre of their businesses.
“Customers have been and will always be the lifeline of all businesses and, especially with banks, where customer deposits are the main funding source,” he stated.
Dr. Addison asked for the full support of the banking sector towards the implementation of the Basel II and III, two sets of regulations that seek to improve the banking sector’s ability to deal with financial stress, improve risk management and strengthen banks’ transparency.
He said the support was needed to ensure that the implementation of regulations, scheduled to take off next year, is smooth.
While noting that technology had increased competition in the provision of banking services, Dr. Addison said it also presented lots of opportunities to banks, as they could leverage the data they generate to deliver products and services to suit their customers. He, however, cautioned them to comply with the applicable laws on data protection.
He pointed out that the BoG was collaborating with all stakeholders to strengthen the payment and settlement systems and promote interoperability within the financial sector and the various telecommunication platforms.
“This will inure to the benefit of all stakeholders and expand the scope for more customer friendly financial products and services,” Dr Addison said.
The 16th Banking Awards saw Ecobank Ghana Limited win the biggest award of the night, the Bank of the Year, for a record eight times after win 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2012, and 2014. The bank also walked away with the Best Bank in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Best Bank in Financial Performance.
In all 33 banks competed for 17 award categories including the coveted Bank of the Year Award. There were 15 plus two award categories identified and agreed upon by the Technical Committee.
The other two awards are exclusively given and sponsored by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GHiPSS). They are the Most Active E-zwich Bank and the Bank that Promotes Cashless Transactions.
Category winners include Prudential Bank, Customer Care; BSIC Ghana Ltd, Advisory Services; Standard Chartered Bank, Trade Finance; Standard Chartered Bank, Trade Deal of the Year; uniBank, Long Term Loan Finance; Stanbic Bank, Savings/Deposit Account; Bank of Baroda, Competitive Pricing; BSIC Bank, Corporate Banking; and Prudential Bank, Retail Banking.
Others are Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; UBA, Products and Services Innovation; GN Bank, Bank Growth; Ecobank Ghana, Corporate Social Responsibility; GCB Bank, Most Active E-zwich Bank; Bank that Promotes Cashless Transactions – Zenith Bank and Ecobank Ghana, Financial Performance.